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Thread: Brand new

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Brand new

    Hi, I am new to large format and new to this forum. Really excited about getting started with it!

    I've been shooting digital and film for a while, with an increasing interest in film and traditional processes. I shoot a lot of digital for sports (of my kid), but I love the look of film and the slower and more deliberate nature of it. I recently took a wet plate class and fell in love with it, and subsequently purchased a Crown Graphic on craigslist and also some 4x5 B&W film. I am getting ready to get started with it and have also acquired some equipment for B&W processing. I would like to try wet plate at home, but initially am starting with film.

    I have a total dumb newbie question about scanning, once I have managed to take some pictures and get them processed. I have a regular home office type combination printer-scanner (HP Photosmart C4385). I can't seem to find a link that gives an overall introduction to this topic, so I'm wondering whether this type of scanner would work for negatives, or if I am going to need to get a separate film scanner. I have already invested a fair amount in equipment recently, so it would be great to use what I have if I can for now, with perhaps an eye toward a dedicated scanner over the longer term if that is preferable. Unfortunately I do not live near a good film lab, so having the negatives scanned professionally is likely not an option for me. I've been mailing out my 35mm and 120 film, but I can't really see doing that with 4x5, which is why I am making the move toward some home processing work.

    If anyone has any guidance, I would appreciate it! Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Jun 1999
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    Everett, WA
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    Re: Brand new

    Hi! Welcome to the forum. There's lots of expertise here, and lots of answers to questions!

    The scanner I have is an Epson V750 flatbed scanner. It's designed for document and film scanning, and can go up to 8x10. What you need is a scanner that comes with a 4x5 film holder. Just look through the various scanner descriptions. On the front page, there's also a scanner comparison chart with samples. If you bought a new Epson scanner, the V700 and V750 are your only two low-end choices. There should be a number of choices in the used market, though.

    A lot of film labs can't scan 4x5 film for you, but some of the forum members run scanning companies.

    If you don't need a highly detailed scan, you can just make a decent contact print from your negative, and then scan that using your current scanner. A contact print just means that the negative is placed directly in contact with the paper, and a piece of glass is placed on top for pressure. Flick the lights on and off, and then develop the paper. It's really easy once you get the hang of it.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Re: Brand new

    Thanks for the welcome and the tips, Brian! I hadn't thought about contact printing, haven't done that before but it seems like it may be a good option. Thank you!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    Re: Brand new

    Welcome!
    Click on the LF Home Page on the blue banner up there at the top of this page for a links to a bunch of very useful information. Contact printing is easy and inexpensive if you're shooting B&W film (inexpensive? maybe not after you move up to 5x7, then 8x10 cameras ).
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  5. #5
    (Shrek)
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    Mar 2011
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    Montreal
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    Re: Brand new

    Welcome! Short answer to your question: your scanner is made for reflective subjects, but if your negs are not too dense, you will be able to get an image from them with your current scanner without having to spend $1000 for a V750. The other easy solution is to photograph the negs with your DSLR; you can take several shots and stitch them in Photoshop (or whatever you use) if you want higher resolution.

    Scanners are the most expensive part of LF unless you get into very expensive lenses.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Re: Brand new

    Thank you John and Jody! I appreciate the info.

  7. #7
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
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    Winona, Minnesota
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    Re: Brand new

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post
    [... snip good stuff ...]
    If you don't need a highly detailed scan, you can just make a decent contact print from your negative, and then scan that using your current scanner.
    If you want to make an image from a negative without using chemistry, consider
    POP paper (printing-out paper) It has been decades since I had some. I'm not sure it is still available.

    Cyanotypes use minimal chemistry and processing is very simple. One thing I like about cyanotypes is that when they fade due to prolonged exposure to light is that you can restore the print by simply putting it in a dark place until it reverts. Henry Peter Bosse used cyanotypes extensively.

    Others here can suggest other means. I just mention what I've used. It is truly fun stuff.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Re: Brand new

    Thanks Jac!

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